DRI International
DRI International

Annual Meeting Spotlight

An Evening at the Alamo, Sponsored by LawyerGuard 

AM Alamo

DRI is excited to announce the location of the 2023 Annual Meeting networking reception. Join colleagues and friends on Thursday, October 26, from 6:00–9:00 p.m. for an evening of fun at the Alamo’s Ralston Family Collections Center.

Catch up with old friends and meet new ones while learning about the rich history of this UNESCO World Heritage site through its collections and artifacts. At this event, you’ll get the chance to explore the Alamo, including the 24,000-square-foot Ralston Family Collections Center. This gem of Texas history features interactive exhibits and the opportunity to network with your DRI Community while enjoying hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, wine, and assorted beers.  

Enjoy access to the following exhibits:  

  • The Phil Collins Collection  

  • The Donald and Louise Yena Spanish Colonial Collection  

  • 500 artifacts, many of which are on display for the first time  

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to catch up with friends and network with your peers while enjoying a part of San Antonio’s history! Sign up for DRI’s Annual Meeting today.

Trucking Law
Young Lawyers
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Pierce Quoted in Law.com Articles

John C.S. Pierce, Chair of The Center’s Public Policy Committee, was featured in two Law.com articles discussing the rise of nuclear settlements and lawyer advertising. In the first article, Pierce discusses how media coverage concerning these substantial verdicts “get tossed in the pond of information that’s out there that lawyers are using to evaluate their cases.” The second article focused on whether lawyer advertising is affecting juries. The article referenced The Center’s recent white paper on social inflation and legal system abuse alongside commentary from Pierce.

Read the full article on nuclear settlements here.
Read the full article on lawyer advertising here.

Pierce_John C.S.

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May Membership Campaign

DRI Celebrates Its Members This Month 

May Membership Month

For the third consecutive year, DRI has dedicated the month of May to its members. May Membership Month celebrates DRI lawyers and the role they play in civil defense bar. 

This year’s campaign tagline is “Who’s Your One?” and asks DRI members to share why they’re a member with one peer and invite him/her to join the organization.  

Both DRI lawyers and those they refer to the organization will be rewarded with a $100 CLE credit for upcoming DRI programming when they join DRI by May 31. Additionally, for every member DRI lawyers recruit in the month of May, they will receive one entry into a random drawing for one of the following five prizes: 

  • 2023 DRI Annual Meeting or Seminar Registration (Value $1,095) 

  • 1,500 DRI Dividend Points, which can be redeemed for a $250 Advocate Certificate (2 prizes) 

  • $150 American Express Gift Cards (2 prizes) 

One random recruiter and their new member recruit will also be interviewed for a feature in The Voice in the month of June. 

New this year, DRI Substantive Law Committees (SLCs) are taking part in May Membership Month. The SLC that recruits the most members during the month of May will be rewarded with a Celebratory Toast as a part of their Business Meeting at their committee’s next seminar or the Annual Meeting. 

For more information on May Membership Month and to obtain tools to aid in your recruiting efforts, visit www.dri.org/MayMembershipMonth.  

From The Center for Law and Public Policy - Advocacy Update

Center Supports Proposed Amendments to Require TPLF Disclosure

TPLF White Paper Cover Image

The DRI Center for Law and Public Policy recently joined a coalition of organizations as signatories to a letter to the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure in further support of the pending proposal to amend Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(1)(A)(v).  The amendment would require disclosure of third-party litigation funding (TPLF) investment arrangements in any civil action filed in federal court.  This effort is consistent with the positions advocated for in The Center’s white paper, Third-Party Litigation Funding: Civil Justice and the Need for Transparency.  

 Sign up to receive updates and news about The Center for Law and Public Policy.

Sponsored Content

New MRI Testing Possibilities for Implant Compatibility 

By Ryan Siskey, M.S., Andrew Dillon, Ph.D., P.E., Derek Holyoak, Ph.D., Cori Riggin, Ph.D., William Torres, Ph.D., Autumn Bullard, Ph.D. 

Medical device manufacturers could be facing new challenges in evaluating the safety of patients with implanted medical devices in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) environments. The recent FDA guidance recommends that device manufacturers take into account how the benchtop test environment differs from the human body by putting results in the context of clinical use. Therefore, conventional testing methodologies outlined in ASTM F2182, which uses soft-tissue mimics and exposure conditions that are not clinically relevant, are no longer sufficient for evaluating patient safety due to radiofrequency (RF) induced heating. 

This is particularly true for devices implanted in bone, because the medium described in ASTM F2182 is a soft-tissue mimic. For these devices, the ASTM F2182 measurement of heating is inaccurate due to how differently the RF electric field interacts with bone compared to soft tissue. Using this measurement to predict clinical heating produces results that could over- or underestimate patient risks. 

Accounting for the heterogeneity of thermal and electromagnetic properties of both hard (e.g., bone) and soft (e.g., muscle) tissues in the body presents a unique challenge that requires substantial know-how and computational resources. The question is how to minimize the burden of analysis while still generating sufficient results to satisfy regulators and protect patients.

The heating standard   

MRI has been a valuable clinical imaging tool for more than 35 years. It offers a viable alternative to imaging modalities that use ionizing radiation, which can damage or even destroy cells. 
MRI has potential hazards as well, since the RF energy used during scans can heat tissue and cause burns. The Food and Drug Administration received 1,568 reports of adverse events related to MRI systems between 2008 and 2017, with most injuries (59% of analyzed results) caused by RF-induced heating of tissue around implanted medical devices. 

To address potential MRI-related risks, FDA, other regulatory bodies, and international standards committees have recommended that device manufacturers test their implanted medical devices for MRI compatibility using ASTM F2182, the so-called "heating" standard, since 2002. 

Rapidly changing regulatory environment 

The recommendation that heating results derived from the traditional test environment should be evaluated in the context of the clinical environment first appears in the 2019 version of ASTM F2182. The 2021 FDA guidance on testing and labeling medical devices for safety in the MRI environment provides further details surrounding this concept, indicating that "to ensure that a clinically relevant worst-case heating scenario is assessed" multiple variables should be considered including patient anatomy, tissue properties, medical device characteristics, and location within the RF field and within or on the patient. 

FDA and other regulatory bodies discussed this recommendation extensively at the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 2022 Workshop on MR Safety: From Physics & Physiology to Policies & Practice. It may become part of ASTM F2182 once the community reaches consensus. 

Until then, adhering to the standard test method may be sufficient for characterizing RF-induced heating for implanted devices in soft tissue, such as heart valves, since the ASTM F2182 test medium adequately mimics soft tissue. For devices implanted in bone, however, the current standard test method does not identify an appropriate test medium, severely limiting the use of the standard for such devices. 

This raises the question: For medical devices implanted in bone, what is the most effective testing technique for device manufacturers to obtain FDA clearance...

Exponent is a proud to be a Premier Sponsor of DRI’s 2023 Drug and Medical Device Seminar – learn more here.

From The Center for Law and Public Policy

New Center Appointments 

The Center is pleased to announce that several DRI members have recently received appointments to its task forces and working groups. 

Social Inflation
Shari Belitz
is now a member of The Center’s Social Inflation Task Force. A litigation consultant and strategist, Belitz is the owner and CEO of Shari Belitz Communications LLC, a company that provides mock trials, focus groups, jury selection, and other litigation consulting services to lawyers and insurance industry professionals.

Shari Belitz

Artificial Intelligence
Newly appointed to The Center’s Artificial Intelligence Working Group is Garrett Greene. An associate in Bowman and Brooke’s Austin, Texas, office, Greene defends medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers in complex product liability litigation. He has considerable experience in both written and oral advocacy as well as writing legal briefs.

Garrett Greene

State Legislation and Rules
Finally, The Center’s State Legislation and Rules Task Force is happy to have new members representing five more jurisdictions: Josh Strief (Iowa), John Reeves (Missouri), Kyle Bjornlund (Massachusetts), Sarah Elizabeth Spencer (Utah), and Kerri Snowden (Nebraska). 

Josh StriefJohn ReevesKyle BjornlundSarah SpencerKerrie Snowden
Pictured, L to R: Strief, Reeves, Bjornlund, Spencer, Snowden

A partner of Elverson Vasey in Des Moines, Strief is an expert in Iowa’s Expedited Civil Action lawsuit track, and his article “Expedited Civil Actions: Where We Are and Where We Could Go” was published in the Iowa Defense Counsel Association’s Defense Update, Summer 2017 edition.

Reeves is an appellate specialist in Saint Louis. After serving as an Assistant Missouri Attorney General for over six years, he entered private practice in 2015 and opened his own firm, Reeves Law LLC, in 2019.

Bjornlund practices in the Toxic Tort Litigation Group of Cetrulo LLP in Boston. He is part of a team that represents Fortune 100 companies as local, regional, and national coordinating counsel in toxic tort litigation. Bjornlund is Secretary of MassDLA.

Spencer is a shareholder at Christensen & Jensen, P.C., in Salt Lake City where she handles product liability cases, complex commercial and business tort cases, and appeals. She chairs the DRI Appellate Advocacy Committee and is a member of the Center’s Amicus Committee.

Snowden is Vice President & Assistant General Counsel for Farmers Mutual of Nebraska in Lincoln.  She is a member of the Nebraska Defense Counsel Association Board of Directors. 

The State Legislation and Rules Task Force provides support by assisting, upon request, SLDOs that are interested in evaluating, supporting, or opposing potential legislation or rules affecting their members and clients and helps SLDOs evaluate legislation or rules adopted in other jurisdictions.  With representation in 17 states (CO, IA, LA, MD, MA, MO, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, TX, UT, WV, and WI), the task force is looking for members from other jurisdictions to join the effort. To learn more, email TheCenter@dri.org

SLDOs interested in seeking assistance from the task force are encouraged to complete and submit the online intake form.

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SLC Spotlight

Top 5 Reasons to Join a Substantive Law Committee 

You can personalize your membership by opting to join any DRI Substantive Law Committees (SLC) at no additional cost. 

Joining an SLC connects you to your peers and puts you on a path to leadership with abundant opportunities. It can help you: 

  1. Expand Your Referral Network: Connect with your peers and get referrals from your fellow SLC members.

  2. Get Free PR: SLCs provide complimentary speaker and publishing opportunities to help you position yourself as a subject matter expert at your firm.

  3. Obtain On-the-Job Leadership Training: SLCs give you the opportunity to lead projects, placing you on the track to leadership at your firm and in the civil defense community.

  4. Access Cutting-Edge Information: Committee-specific e-newsletters, podcasts, programs, and more provide the latest legal information.

  5. Get Informed Responses in Real-Time: Gain instant access to experts in your field willing to share insights. Have your questions answered in real-time by your peers via the SLC’s online communities/discussion boards. 

Surround yourself with a network of attorneys in your practice area who can help grow your business by joining a DRI Substantive Law Committee today! View DRI’s 29 Substantive Law Committees, select the committee you’re interested in, and press the “Join Committee” button on the right-hand side of the page to join one today! Repeat this process for all the committees you’re interested in and join as many committees as you’d like for free! 


The DRI Blog

Read Our Newest Blog Post — Why DRI? Members Share Their Favorite Perks 

Join DRI during May to unlock special savings. 

Blog Slider

Here’s what our members have to say about their favorite parts of DRI membership and what they’re looking forward to in 2023. Join and refer your colleagues during May to get rewarded and access special savings. 

Check out our new post on Court & Counsel: The DRI Blog to learn more!

Court & Counsel: The DRI Blog – Your premier resource for civil defense content.

Webinar Series Spotlight

A How-to Guide to E-discovery

Whether you are just learning about e-discovery or need to brush up on your skills, our new live webinar series will provide you with an excellent foundation in the important processes of e-discovery and electronically stored information (“ESI”). Join us as we discuss best practices for identifying and preserving digital information, discovery disputes involving ESI, and other pertinent ESI issues attorneys face today.

Save $150 when you purchase all three webinars as part of the bundle! Alternatively, you may select and purchase the webinars you'd like individually. CLE credit is available for all the webinars in the series as well. Click here to view the bundle and purchase today!


DRI Committee Spotlight

SLC Corner | Diversity and Inclusion Committee & Young Lawyers Committee

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Diversity and Inclusion Committee
Stacy Lynne Douglas, Chair

The Diversity and Inclusion Committee addresses the issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion through a range of programs, projects, and opportunities. As a committee, we do what we can to support one another personally and professionally. It is a very safe space for people who do not always feel space in their work environment. We ensure that supervising and managing attorneys at law firms are not only aware of the good work their attorneys are doing, but even more aware of the unusual exposure to prospective clients, involvement in our community provides. 

The committee has many great projects this year, with opportunities to get involved. The Diversity for Success Seminar and Corporate Expo will be held in Charlotte, NC, on June 14-16. The Corporate EXPO is a program where diverse talent can pitch and interview for new business with corporate counsel from all over the country. This year, there will be new companies participating which increases the opportunity for diverse attorneys to establish and develop new business at our seminar this year. 
We are most excited about the first ever Women of Color Roundtable, which will take place on June 13th in Charlotte under the leadership of Ebony Morris. The roundtable will provide a space for women of color to come together to share experiences, common challenges and strategize regarding how to change the experience women of color have in the legal industry.

We will launch our second annual pipeline program in August 2023. This will involve pairing a diverse young lawyer with a corporate counsel mentor for the purpose of developing relationships and prospective business development opportunities.

In addition to the Women of Color subcommittee, we have also created a Lawyer’s with Disability subcommittee and LGBTQ+ subcommittee. These committees are looking for ideas and members to help move the needle in the legal community and how it incorporates lawyers with disabilities and LGBTQ+ members. We anticipate these subcommittees will be heavily involved in programming and articles.

We will be continuing providing our compelling programming via webinars and on-line CLE programming and are always looking for new talents to present on topics involving social justice, Supreme Court issues and diversity in the legal profession. 

Want to get involved?

  • Join the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and consider joining subcommittees as well.

  • Register for the Diversity and Inclusion Seminar on June 14-16 in Charlotte, NC.

  • Introduce yourself to any steering committee member. This can be done in person at a seminar, in person on the street, via email or a phone call. We are always looking for new members, diverse perspectives, and anyone committed to diversity, inclusion and belonging. 

Young Lawyers IconYoung Lawyers Committee
Brett A. Tarver, Chair

The Young Lawyers Committee (YLC) is made up of lawyers practicing across every substantive area within DRI who have been in practice ten years or less. The Committee's mission remains the same each year -- providing its members the best professional development, quality CLE programs and networking opportunities of any legal organization.

The YLC addresses the challenges that young lawyers are facing. As skills opportunities for litigators are diminishing (think trials, hearings, even depositions), young lawyers are increasingly left without the opportunity to develop hands-on litigation skills. This is especially true for in-person experience as virtual depositions and hearings seem poised to remain, even after the pandemic that led to their rise has ended. To try and address this deficit, the YLC maintains a focus on providing skills training to its young lawyer members, both through in person sessions at the Young Lawyers Seminar and through interactive online programming. 

Another challenge is the lack of intentional mentorship and sponsorship from experienced attorneys. It is another byproduct of the pandemic and the ability to work from home (which, do not get us wrong, the YLs enjoy). There are fewer opportunities to easily build meaningful relationships with senior associates and partners who can act as both mentors and sponsors of young lawyers. What used to develop through daily interactions over coffee or lunch or through informal hallway chats now needs to be intentionally planned and included. The Young Lawyers Committee has renewed its focus on developing connections between more junior and more senior young lawyers so that the YLC can be a place where mentorship is fostered and encouraged. 

In addition, the committee is excited about the Young Lawyers Seminar, taking place June 14-16 in Charlotte, NC. I am most looking forward to the “Becoming A Trusted Business Partner to Your Corporate Clients” panel, which features three senior in-house counsel—Gail Sharps Myers from Denny’s, Asal Alipanah from H.G. Fenton Company, and Demitra Sourlis Farha from Duke Energy Corporation—who will discuss the best ways for lawyers to become a trusted resource and go to aid for in-house counsel, no matter the year of seniority. The seminar is a great opportunity to get involved with the committee.

The YLC has worked hard to put together dynamic online programming for young lawyers to help provide guidance and best practices for issues young lawyers face often, no matter their area of practice. The YLC has put together a three-part series titled “A How to Guide to E-Discovery,” which will cover how to protect your client’s interests by identifying and preserving digital data from day-one, how to address electronically saved information (“ESI”) issues with opposing counsel and the court, and best practices for handling discovery disputes involving ESI.

In 2022, the YLC revamped the way that young lawyers were chosen to serve as liaisons to the other DRI substantive law committees and the first year of the newly revised program is under way. The goal of the program is to foster strong relationships and open channels of communication between the YLC and DRI’s substantive law committees to ensure that all young lawyers are apprised of speaking, publishing, and leadership opportunities available on those committees. The applications for the next batch of young lawyer liaisons will be due at the same time as the YLC’s steering committee applications (July 2023).

Want to get involved?

  • Register for the Young Lawyers Seminar on June 14-16 in Charlotte, NC. At the Seminar, attendees will get the opportunity to meet and interact with the executive chairs and the current members of the young lawyers steering committee to get a full understanding of ways to get involved and the opportunities available.

  • Following the Seminar, the YLC will open applications for the steering committee (July 2023). Becoming a member of the steering committee is the best way to get plugged in with the YLC and we make every effort to find a spot for applicants.

DRI Learning Center

Take Advantage of the DRI Learning Center!

DRI LC Newsletter Ad

With seminars, webinars, as well as anytime access through on-demand learning, the DRI Learning Center is making continuing legal education more convenient, flexible, and cost-efficient than ever.

Here are some of the ways you can benefit:

Explore 27 key practice areas.

Choose what's convenient for you: in-person (seminars), virtual (webinars), or on-demand.

Bundle your own content customized to your specific practice needs.

Learn more at education.dri.org!

And the Defense Wins

DRI Members Share Their Victories

Traub Lieberman Partner Lisa Rolle Wins Motion to Dismiss on Behalf of International Hotel Conglomerate

Traub Lieberman Partner Lisa Rolle successfully secured the dismissal on behalf of an International Hotel Conglomerate in an action asserting tort claims brought in the Southern District of New York, as well as Bronx Supreme Court. The Plaintiffs, who are New York residents, made a reservation to stay at one of the Hotel Conglomerate’s properties in Aruba through a popular travel reservation website. One of the Plaintiffs was injured during the hotel stay and, initiated this action in both federal and state court against multiple foreign Defendants, including the Hotel Conglomerate.

The Plaintiffs allege personal jurisdiction for all Defendants using the same boilerplate language for each. However, based on the Defendants’ locations, the nature of each business, and the lack of New York contacts for each, TLSS successfully established that neither federal nor state court had jurisdiction over the matter, dismissing the action.

The case was Nicholas Cannella and Jennifer Cannella v. International Hotels Group, PLC, Six Continents Holdings, LTD., Six Continents International Holdings, B.V., H.I.M. Aruba B.V. and Holiday Inn Mexicana, SA. 

Traub Lieberman Partner Lisa Rolle Wins Summary Judgment on Behalf of Contract Utility Company in Personal Injury Action

Traub Lieberman Partner Lisa Rolle obtained summary judgment on behalf of a contract utility company (“Utility Company”) in a matter brought before the New York Supreme Court, Queens County. In the complaint, the Plaintiff alleged that she sustained injuries as a result of a trip and fall accident where the Plaintiff’s foot allegedly went into a hole in the grass strip abutting the sidewalk adjacent to a premises located in Queens, NY. The Plaintiff claimed that the defect in the sidewalk was caused by the removal of a utility pole at the curb strip that was not correctly backfilled.

The Defendant Utility Company is in the business of inspecting, treating, and repairing utility and telecommunication structures, including wooden utility poles. TLSS was successfully able to establish that, three years prior to the accident, the Utility Company was retained to conduct a visual inspection of the subject pole. However, the Utility Company does not and has not owned, installed, removed or replaced in-service utility poles in New York or at the location of the alleged accident. Further, TLSS established that the Utility Company did not service or remove the subject pole at the accident site or backfill the curb strip.

Based on the facts and the Plaintiff’s inability to prove negligence on the part of the Utility Company, the court found that the Utility Company did not owe the Plaintiff a duty of care. The summary judgment was granted and the complaint and any crossclaims against the Defendant were dismissed.

The case was Clara Burgos v. The City of New York, Osmose Utilities Services, Inc., Avnish Gulaeria and Poonam Gulaeria.

Lisa Rolle

Smith v. Crown (Missouri)

On Monday, April 24, 2023, a twelve-person jury in Jackson County, Missouri, returned a complete defense verdict in favor of Crown Equipment Corporation, a forklift designer and manufacturer based in New Bremen, Ohio. The lawsuit involved a July 18, 2016, warehouse accident. Plaintiff, Richard Smith, was operating a Crown RC5500 stand-up rider lift truck as part of his employment with Foot Locker in Junction City, Kansas. Because Plaintiff stuck his foot outside of the operator compartment of the RC5500 prior to striking a building column, he sustained a left leg crush injury that eventually resulted in a below-the-knee amputation. Plaintiff asserted a Strict Liability claim against Crown claiming the RC5500 was defective in design because it had an open compartment and was not enclosed with an operator compartment door. Crown put on evidence to show the RC5500 was not defective. Crown’s attorney, Michael Correnti, argued in closing arguments that the evidence clearly showed this accident was about a misused truck, not a defective truck. Crown also presented evidence that Plaintiff attempted to exit the operator compartment of the RC5500 prior to impact in violation of his training and Crown’s warnings. This directly contradicted Plaintiff’s uncorroborated claim that the braking forces caused his leg to come outside of the operator compartment. 

After six days of trial, Plaintiff asked the jury to award $30 million in damages based upon past medical expenses, future medical expenses, and pain and suffering.  The jury took only 45 minutes to return a complete defense verdict for Crown after finding the RC5500 was not defective in design. Crown Equipment Corporation was represented by national counsel and DRI members Michael Correnti, Michael Wiggins and Philip Kegler from McDonald Toole Wiggins PA in Orlando, Florida, along with local counsel.

michael-correnti-profile-1Michael Wigginsphilip-kegler-profile-2
Pictured, L to R: Correnti, Wiggins, Kegler

Keep The Defense Wins Coming!
Please send 250–500-word summaries of your “wins,” including the case name, your firm name, your firm position, city of practice, and email address, in Word format, along with a recent color photo as an attachment (.jpg or .tiff), highest resolution file possible, to DefenseWins@dri.org. Please note that DRI membership is a prerequisite to be listed in “And the Defense Wins,” and it may take several weeks for The Voice to publish your win.

DRI Member News

Congratulations to DRI Members for Their Achievements

Bowman and Brooke LLP, a nationally recognized trial firm known for product defense, announces that DRI member Roshan N. Rajkumar has been reelected to serve as the firm’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Chair. Rajkumar has been a DRI member since 2005. 

Additionally, Bowman and Brooke has reelected or newly elected the following partners to serve as leaders within their respective offices and on the firm’s Management Committee: 

  • Phoenix, Jeffrey C. Warren, Managing Partner (DRI member since 2012)

  • Los Angeles, Mike H. Madokoro, Managing Partner (DRI member since 1996) 

  • Austin, John D. Garrett, Managing Partner (DRI member since 2016)  

The Chartwell Law family has the following DRI members joining their firm in the Illinois offices: Alex P. Rives, DRI member since 2022, and Devin Taseff, DRI member since 2021. These attorneys have joined the General Liability and Casualty Defense practice group, specializing in the trucking and transportation industries.  

Hinshaw & Culbertson has announced that Chicago-based law firm Adler Murphy & McQuillen (AMM) has joined Hinshaw, effective April 1. The move will result in the formation of Hinshaw’s new Aviation and Aerospace Practice Group. The following partners: Michael G. McQuillen (DRI member since 1997) and Todd M. Saranecki (DRI member since 2001). Todd is also a member of DRI’s Aviation, ERISA, and Insurance Committees). 

DRI member Ghazal Ullah joined Perkins & Associates in Shreveport, LA. She is licensed in Texas and Louisiana and has been a DRI member since 2022. 

Porter Wright announces today its expansion into Tampa, Florida, through the addition of a 5-person litigation team. Porter Wright’s new Tampa office will include attorney Larry Ingram, (DRI member since 2012) who will serve as partner-in-charge.

Lamson Dugan & Murray LLP (LDM) welcomes attorneys Andrew C. Johnson, whose practice areas include commercial litigation, construction law and litigation, insurance law and litigation, and products liability. Andy has been a DRI member since 2004. Jason C. Palmer, (DRI member since 2004) joins as a partner in LDM’s West Des Moines location. Jason Palmer’s practice focuses on litigation and trial law, municipal law, employment law, professional liability and transportation law. 

DRI member Clinton Fletcher (member since 2007) is joining Gray, Rust, St. Amand, Moffett & Brieske LLP, in Atlanta, GA. 

Goldberg Segalla announces the promotion of partner Seth L. Laver to vice chair of the firm’s Accountants Professional Liability Practice. In this role, Laver will provide leadership to enhance the full-service legal counsel, defense and guidance provided to client accountants and financial professionals (Seth has been a DRI member since 2011).

Ice Miller is pleased to announce the addition of Partner Jennifer Jackman (DRI member since 2014)  who served as a co-leader of her former firm’s litigation department, and co-leading the labor and employment group as well. 

Elizabeth H. Overmann (DRI member since 2016) has joined Ragsdale Liggett as a partner in the civil litigation group in our Raleigh office.  With twenty years of experience, Elizabeth adds to the firm’s capabilities in trucking, personal and catastrophic injury, construction, premises and product liability. 

If you have a recent achievement or recognition, you would like featured, email your news to membership@dri.org. Please note that DRI reserves the right to review all accomplishments to ensure they are adequate for publishing. All submissions will be reviewed for relevance and compliance with DRI’s mission. Submissions may be edited to conform with our standards, and space limitations. 


Defense Association of New York to host DANY Spring Awards Celebration on May 31

The Defense Association of New York will be hosting their 2023 DANY Spring Awards Celebration on Wednesday, May 31, 2023. One of the honorees is Maroney O’Connor LLP, the law firm of which DRI member Tom Maroney is a founding partner. Tom has been a DRI member since 2009 and is on the DRI Board of Directors as Atlantic Region Director.  

Maroney’s law firm is being presented with the James S. Conway Award for Outstanding Service to the Defense Community.  

Regional Meeting Attendees joined DRI in Chicago on April 19-21 for the DRI Northwest/Pacific Joint Regional Meeting. The meeting was led by DRI Regional Directors Lori O'Tool (Northwest Region) and Renee Welze Livingston (Pacific) and included a presentation by DRI Second Vice President, Jeff Lowe. Regional Meeting Attendees spent time learning and networking, hearing many updates from DRI and The Center. Attendees were also able to connect socially enjoying some local Chicago favorites like Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza.

NW Pacific Meeting

In April, Regional Meeting attendees joined DRI in New Orleans for the Mid Atlantic, Southern, and Southwest Joint Regional Meeting with 13 State/Local Defense Organizations. The meeting was led by DRI Regional Directors Michael Carter (Southwest Region), Michael Dailey (Mid-Atlantic Region) and Catherine C. Dugan (Southern Region), and included a presentation by DRI Second Vice President, Jeff Lowe. Regional Meeting Attendees spent time learning and networking, hearing updates from DRI and The Center. 

NOLA Meeting

Last week, Regional Meeting attendees joined DRI in New Orleans for the Canadian and Central Joint Regional Meeting. The meeting was led by DRI Regional Directors Laura Emmett (Canadian Region) and Jill Cranston Rice (Central Region). DRI Second Vice President Jeff Lowe was also in attendance and presented during the meeting. Regional Meeting Attendees spent time learning, networking, and hearing updates from DRI and The Center. Regional Meeting attendees also participated in a DRI Cares project, supporting Cardz for Kidz. 

Canadian and Central Joint Regional Meeting

Coming Soon! 2023 DRI International Day of Service

This September, the DRI Foundation and participating state, local and national defense organization (SLNDOs) will hold the second International Day of Service. Nearly 30 organizations participated in the inaugural event in 2022. The goal of the Foundation is to better support and bring awareness to the wellness, philanthropic and charitable efforts of defense lawyers across the country. The International Day of Service is one of the steps the DRI Foundation, in partnership with SLNDOs, is taking to expand, better coordinate, and streamline the holistic betterment of the civil defense bar. Learn more about the International Day of Service. Please contact Denise Eichhorn at deichhorn@dri.org if you have any questions.

DRI Cares

DRI Cares Partners with HandsOn New Orleans

DRI members made a considerable impact on New Orleans in April, in conjunction with HandsOn New Orleans. Attendees of the Life, Health, Disability, and ERISA; Toxic Tort and Environmental Law; and Business and Intellectual Property Litigation seminars worked together to host two hour-long DRI Cares events during their respective events. More than 50 DRI members gathered to package over 950 hygiene kits, which will be distributed to unhoused people in NOLA, handwrite support notes to be included in the hygiene kits, and create large scrabble boards to help young NOLA students learn spelling and math while having fun. With support from the DRI Foundation and DRI’s Southern Region, these committees raised almost $16,000 to fund these events and aid HandsOn New Orleans’s fantastic charitable efforts in the community. 


New Members and Advocates

DRI Welcomes the Following Members and Advocates:

New Members
William F. Bologna, New Orleans, LA                                                                 
Wesley H. Ching, Honolulu, HI                                                                       
Russell L. Potter, Alexandria, LA                                                                   
Robin Silver, Baltimore, MD                                                                         
Jeffrey C. McLucas, Boston, MA                                                                      
Laura Ellis Kugler, Dallas, TX                                                                      
Thomas L. Benedict, Honolulu, HI                                                                    
Connie A. Matteo, Peapack, NJ                                                                       
Jack G. Steigelfest, Hartford, CT                                                                   
Lana K. Varney, Austin, TX                                                                          
Glen Ehrhardt, Columbia, MO                                                                         
José I. Rojas, Miami, FL                                                                            
Tobin J. Taylor, Chicago, IL                                                                        
Christopher A. Conley, Ashland, KY                                                                  
Robert T. Watson, Louisville, KY                                                                    
Pamela J. Tillman, Milwaukee, WI                                                                    
Hughes Hamilton Rice, III, Tampa, FL                                                                
Amy K. Cardone, Denver, CO                                                                          
Amy B. Boyea, Arlington, TX                                                                         
Stephen L. Rossetti, Jr., Waltham, MA                                                               
Chad C. Messier, Charlotte Amalie, VI                                                               
Louis U. Gasparini, White Plains, NY                                                                
Gail C. Bradford, Orlando, FL                                                                       
R. Michael Northrup, Dallas, TX                                                                     
Elizabeth A. Fitzpatrick, Calverton, NY                                                             
Kimberly S. Ratcliff, Dallas, TX                                                                    
Wendi J. Frisch, Los Angeles, CA                                                                    
Stephanie M. Hohing, Philadelphia, PA                                                               
James Gordon, Columbus, OH                                                                          
Austin A. Evans, Austin, TX                                                                         
Natalie J. Kussart, Saint Louis, MO                                                                 
Cara D. Edwards, New York, NY                                                                       
George Haddad, San Francisco, CA                                                                    
Stephanie Fichera, Miami, FL                                                                        
R. Clifton Merrell, Atlanta, GA                                                                     
Kathryn R. Downey, Plymouth, MN                                                                     
Collin J. Hite, Glen Allen, VA                                                                      
Sunu M. Pillai, Pittsburgh, PA                                                                      
Shannon E. Beamer, Los Angeles, CA                                                                  
Shelley L. Thompson, New Orleans, LA                                                                
Andrea J. Steele, Kansas City, MO                                                                   
Talia Gordner, Toronto, ON, Canada                                                                  
Nicholas Albano, III, Fairfield, NJ                                                                 
Avi T. Kamionski, Chicago, IL                                                                       
Kristine M. Maher, Cincinnati, OH                                                                   
Katherine Strawbridge, Indianapolis, IN                                                             
Traci L. Shafroth, San Francisco, CA                                                                
Randy A. Berg, Los Angeles, CA                                                                      
Allison A. Waase, White Plains, NY                                                                  
Mark A. Osbourn, Louisville, KY                                                                     
R. Blake Hamilton, Salt Lake City, UT                                                               
Renee Giacomini Brewer, San Rafael, CA                                                              
Jaime L. Regan, New York, NY                                                                        
Erika Alsid Short, Towson, MD                                                                       
Katie Rose Ranta, Great Falls, MT                                                                   
Monee Takla Hanna, Torrance, CA                                                                     
Marty B. Ready, San Diego, CA                                                                       
Vincent Geis, Cedar Rapids, IA                                                                      
Adam Auchey, Pittsburgh, PA                                                                         
Marie D. Lang, Raleigh, NC                                                                          
Daniel Rock, Miami, FL                                                                              
Sarah Stula, Overland Park, KS                                                                      
Kristen L. Richer, Los Angeles, CA                                                                  
Brennan P. Breeland, New York, NY                                                                   
Brittany D. Levine, Raleigh, NC                                                                     
Sarah-Jane Dobson, London, United Kingdom                                                         
Tyrra Walker, Atlanta, GA                                                                           
Shneur Nathan, Chicago, IL                                                                          
Joseph Joyce, Cranberry Twp, PA                                                                     
Christopher David Joseph, Baton Rouge, LA                                                           
Ross Bromberger, Charlotte, NC                                                                      
Shari Belitz, New York, NY                                                                          
Jaclyn Sitjar, Raleigh, NC                                                                          
Jonathan Blick, Bowling Green, KY                                                                   
Stephanie Capezzuto, Atlanta, GA                                                                    
Gabrielle C. Wells, Jackson, MS                                                                     
David M. Adkins, Charleston, WV                                                                     
Ryan T. Shannon, Knoxville, TN                                                                      
Trevor William Carolan, Plano, TX                                                                   
Nicole Grida, Plano, TX                                                                             
Bolor Nyamaa, Greenwood Village, CO                                                                 
Lauren Riley Barr, Tampa, FL                                                                        
Heather Anderson-Fintak, Las Vegas, NV                                                              
Evan James Critchlow, San Diego, CA                                                                 
Devin C. Reid, New Orleans, LA                                                                      
Tyler Jameson, Greensboro, NC                                                                       
Jennifer J. May-Brust, Rogers, AR                                                                   
Patricia L. Clark, San Diego, CA                                                                    
Tiffany Millioen, New York, NY                                                                      
Michelle C. Fox, Louisville, KY                                                                     
Kayla McDaniel, Charlotte, NC                                                                       
Alexis Moore, Tampa, FL                                                                             
Chelsea Robinson, Humble, TX                                                                        
Oumayma El Hamzaoui, Raleigh, NC                                                                    
Megan A. Haynes, New Orleans, LA                                                                    
Alice Cunningham, Buffalo, NY                                                                       
Kevin Austin Ashley, II, Tampa, FL                                                                  
Ryan Williams, Phoenix, AZ                                                                          
Antonious Sadek, Philadelphia, PA                                                                   
Jessica A. Merejo, River Edge, NJ                                                                   
Sihomara L. Graves, Reno, NV                                                                        
Jocelyn Mendez, Philadelphia, PA                                                                    
Katelynn McCollough, Des Moines, IA                                                                 
Tanya Tyer Smitherman, Carrollton, TX                                                               
Devin L. Honbarger, Raleigh, NC                                                                     
Joanna Fulton, Edinburgh, Midlothian, United Kingdom                                                
Zachary Scott Greenbaum, Hunt Valley, MD                                                            
Megan Adkins, Lexington, KY                                                                         
Zachary Hixson, Missoula, MT                                                                        
Allison Margolies, Chicago, IL                                                                      
Zabrina Delgado, Seattle, WA                                                                        
Brittany Griner, Atlanta, GA                                                                        
Margaret Loveman, Birmingham, AL                                                                    
Sarah Long, San Diego, CA    
Amy B. Larson, Humble, TX                                                                           
Brandon W. Ehrie, Indianapolis, IN                                                                  
Christopher B. Turney, Kansas City, MO                                                              
Christopher Pate, Tampa, FL                                                                         
James M. Weiss, Raleigh, NC                                                                         
Cy A. Hill, Jr., Charleston, WV                                                                     
Emily G. Barr, Jackson, MS                                                                          
Jeffrey D. Keister, Raleigh, NC                                                                     
Kelly Jones Howell, New York, NY                                                                    
Cynthia P. Kolb, Plymouth, MN                                                                       
Douglas K. Burrell, Norcross, GA                                                                    
Jamie Wilhite Dittert, Lexington, KY                                                                
Jeffrey H. Bergman, Chicago, IL                                                                     
Joseph E. O'Neil, Boston, MA                                                                        
Lindsay Lorimer, Toronto, ON                                                                        
Jason B. Hendren, Rogers, AR                                                                        
Kennard B. Davis, New Orleans, LA                                                                   
Lawrence G. Pugh III, New Orleans, LA                                                               
Mitzi S. Mayfield, Amarillo, TX                                                                     
Matthew T. Wagman, Baltimore, MD                                                                    
Robert A. Shields, San Diego, CA                                                                    
Michael S. Ryan, Minneapolis, MN                                                                    
Jason D. Newton, Raleigh, NC                                                                        
Joseph W. Selep, Pittsburgh, PA                                                                     
Sarah Lahlou-Amine, Tampa, FL                                                                       
Karl T. Olson, West Des Moines, IA                                                                  
Steven A. Scoggan, Greensboro, NC                                                                   
Robert Ernest Noble III, Norcross, GA                                                               
Sarah Elizabeth Spencer, Salt Lake City, UT                                                         
Stanley P. Wellman, Richmond, VA                                                                    
Thomas E. Ganucheau, Houston, TX                                                                    
Thomas E. Liptak, Buffalo, NY                                                                       
Todd C. Stanton, Saint Louis, MO                                                                    
William T. Polaski, Cranberry Twp, PA                                                               
Toyja E. Kelley, Washington, DC                                                                     
Kevin Joseph O'Connor, River Edge, NJ                                                               
Margaret Fonshell Ward, Hunt Valley, MD                                                             
Meghan Wynkoop, Philadelphia, PA                                                                    
Michele L. Brott, Des Moines, IA                                                                    
Parada Ornelas, San Diego, CA                                                                       
Patrick W. Begos, Stamford, CT                                                                      
Robert R. McCoy, Las Vegas, NV                                                                      
Shannon M. Keene, Louisville, KY                                                                    
Alex Tilling, New Orleans, LA                                                                       
Andrew B. Spradlin, Raleigh, NC                                                                     
Austin R. Walsh, Charlotte, NC                                                                      
Dana Hoffman, Raleigh, NC                                                                           
Irma Reboso Solares, Miami, FL                                                                      
James F. Murdica, Chicago, IL                                                                       
Jean E. Faure, Great Falls, MT                                                                      
Katherine L. Powell, Birmingham, AL                                                                 
Matthew J. Lavisky, Tampa, FL                                                                       
Michelle D'Arcambal, New York, NY                                                                   
Richard T. Boyette, Raleigh, NC                                                                     
Scott P. Stolley, Dallas, TX                                                                        
Todd J. Suddleson, Dallas, TX                                                                       
Zahnie L. Soe Myint, Phoenix, AZ     


DRI Education 

Upcoming Seminars and Webinars

Don’t wait to register! $300 savings for June Seminars in North Carolina end May 15.

2023 Trucking Litigation Essentials Seminar
June 13-14, 2023 | Charlotte, North Carolina
In today's high-stakes trucking litigation, a complete set of comprehensive strategies is essential to laying the groundwork for the defense of your case. Attendees will be shown how to handle an emergency call and how to thoroughly investigate an accident at the earliest stage. Experienced attorneys, claims professionals, and industry experts will discuss evidence preservation, pre-suit discovery, and effective strategies for early resolution.

2023 Diversity for Success Seminar
June 14-16, 2023 | Charlotte, North Carolina
The DRI Diversity and Inclusion Committee invites you to the 18th annual Diversity for Success Seminar and Corporate Expo in Charlotte, North Carolina. Attendees will have the unique opportunity to gain insights from and network with in-house counsel and potential referral sources. This seminar is designed to address diversity-related issues in the legal profession and provide resources and tools to incorporate in your career and organization to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion.

2023 Insurance Bad Faith and Extra-Contractual Liability Seminar
June 14-16, 2023 | Charlotte, North Carolina
DRI’s Insurance Bad Faith and Extra-Contractual Liability Seminar is the preeminent program for insurance executives, claims professionals, and outside counsel who specialize in bad faith insurance litigation. Bad faith issues and concerns permeate many aspects of insurance claims handling. When bad faith litigation ensues, these claims are some of the most complex and highest exposure claims faced by insurers. Our faculty, consisting of some of the nation’s leading in-house and outside bad faith lawyers, will share their valuable insights and strategies on evaluating and winning bad faith cases, as well as how to avoid them in the first place.

2023 Young Lawyers Seminar
June 14-16, 2023 | Charlotte, North Carolina
Come visit the Queen City for DRI’s Young Lawyers Seminar! If you are an attorney within your tenth year of practice, this seminar is for you. Join us as we explore how the practice of law is, first and foremost, a business. To grow your law practice, you not only need to hone and perfect your legal skills, but you also need to learn what it takes to run a successful business - from building and maintaining client relationships, to staying on top of current trends and developments and using technology to your advantage. In addition to exciting programming, there will be ample networking opportunities with attorneys and in-house counsel from across the country.

DRI International
June 19-20, 2023 | Zürich, Switzerland
Join us for the first DRI International Seminar in four years to reconnect with members and new contacts in Zürich. The international disputes landscape is becoming more complex, and there are significant changes ahead, particularly for tech companies operating in Europe, as well as the rapid growth of class action regimes globally. We will be joined by lawyers and in-house counsel to discuss the hot topics and current legal developments in cross-border litigation with a focus on class actions, product liability, developments in e-discovery, and the use of legal tech in litigation. We will end with a lively and interactive panel session discussing the future of work in law firms and the seminal topic of preserving well-being in the new world of hybrid working!

An Overview of Regulations and Litigation involving PFAS in the United States
May 18 | 11 a.m. CDT
This webinar will provide an introduction to PFAS including an overview of their manufacture, uses and health effects. It will also discuss state and federal regulations setting limits for their presence in air, water and soil, as well as standards for remediation of contaminated sites. It will further discuss proposed legislation that may be enacted on both the state and federal level.

Protecting Yourself and Your Client by Identifying and Preserving Digital Information from Day-one of a Dispute
May 23 | 11 a.m. CDT
This Program will explain what attorneys need to know about ensuring digital information is properly considered at the outset of a new case. This program will feature a brief lecture on the best practices for counseling clients on the issues of preserving and producing digital records and will give real-world examples of the consequences that can arise – for parties and counsel - when issues related to electronically stored information (“ESI”) are ignored. After the introductory lecture, attendees will be split into small groups for discussions led by experienced litigators on the way ESI impacts their work and how the information presented in the program can be implemented in their practice.

Save $150 by purchasing three webinars as a bundle. Learn more about the bundle.
1. Identifying and Preserving Digital Information
2. Addressing ESI Issues
3. Winning Discovery Disputes Involving ESI

Fundamentals of the Nonwaivable Patient Safety Work Product
May 24 | 11 a.m. CDT
This webinar will discuss how medical liability defendants can use the federal privilege to better defend their clients when sued. You'll learn:
1 - Understand the Privilege, Confidentiality and Immunity protections for Patient Safety Work Product (PSWP) and Healthcare providers under the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 (PSQIA).
2 - Develop a working knowledge of Patient Safety Organization/PSES concepts as well as permitted disclosures for PSWP, including the learning system.
3- Review of PSQIA Case Law.

Addressing ESI Issues with Opposing Counsel and The Court
June 27 | 11 a.m. CDT
This program will cover the skills needed to effectively communicate with opposing parties on issues concerning e-discovery and how best to apprise the Court of anticipated e-discovery issues via a 26(f) report. This program will include covering the issues to be aware of when discussing an ESI protocol, such as ensuring that an ESI protocol is not creating an unreasonable burden for your client while making sure that any protocol leaves the door open for obtaining useful information from the opposing party. After a brief lecture, attendees will be split into small groups led by an experienced attorney in order to review and discuss a mock 26(f) report and sample ESI protocol.

Save $150 by purchasing three webinars as a bundle. Learn more about the bundle.
1. Identifying and Preserving Digital Information
2. Addressing ESI Issues
3. Winning Discovery Disputes Involving ESI

Tips for Winning Discovery Disputes Involving ESi
July 25 | 11 a.m. CDT
Increasingly, Courts are turning to informal discovery conferences to resolve discovery disputes as a way to avoid the costly and time-consuming motion practice that can arise from motions to compel and corresponding motions for protective orders. In this program, attendees will learn how to prepare to present arguments in this type of conference and tips for effectively presenting their position. After an introductory lecture, attendees will split into small groups, led by experienced attorneys, to analyze sample discovery requests, discuss how to respond and defend against unreasonably broad discovery requests, along with exploring how to approach compelling production of digital information from an uncooperative plaintiff.

Save $150 by purchasing three webinars as a bundle. Learn more about the bundle.
1. Identifying and Preserving Digital Information
2. Addressing ESI Issues
3. Winning Discovery Disputes Involving ESI

Quote of the Month

"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome." — Anne Bradstreet